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Old 08-11-2013, 11:04 PM   #1
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Confused... help please.. so frustrated!

I've been cycling my tank for 6 weeks now.
The past 2 weeks ive been doing a fishless cycle. The ammonia has been up to 4ppm steadily.
Ive tested everyday and the ammonias been the same while nitrites have been at 0.
Ive tested for nitrates the first week and it always said 0ppm. I even tested it about a week ago and it said 0.
Now today I tested it and it said about 5ppm maybe a little less.
So my tank is:
4ppm ammonia
0 Nitrites
5ppm Nitrates.

A littttle confused since ammonia hasn't dropped, or maybe it was higher than 4ppm since test goes from 4ppm to 8ppm.

So I tested my tap and it also said 5ppm nitrates. But ive tested it before and it said 0. I just used those vials right before I tested the tap water on my aquarium. So maybe there was some left over stuff?

I dont see how my tap can go from 0 to 5 ppm and the same with my tank.

I also added some gravel from my established goldfish tank (1/4 cup) into my 20 gallon that im cycling, about 3 days ago. Does this mean anything... or am I loosing it.
Also, would adding more tetra safestart affect this is any way? I added a small bottle about 2 weeks ago and nothing happened. Im getting desperate after 6 weeks!
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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What do you test with?
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Goldfish loach boy View Post
What do you test with?
The API master test kit.
I dont check for nitrates everyday (I was concentrating on ammonia and nitrites) but ive never had any readings and now its 5ppm.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epjan7 View Post
I've been cycling my tank for 6 weeks now.
The past 2 weeks ive been doing a fishless cycle. The ammonia has been up to 4ppm steadily.
Ive tested everyday and the ammonias been the same while nitrites have been at 0.
Ive tested for nitrates the first week and it always said 0ppm. I even tested it about a week ago and it said 0.
Now today I tested it and it said about 5ppm maybe a little less.
So my tank is:
4ppm ammonia
0 Nitrites
5ppm Nitrates.

A littttle confused since ammonia hasn't dropped, or maybe it was higher than 4ppm since test goes from 4ppm to 8ppm.

So I tested my tap and it also said 5ppm nitrates. But ive tested it before and it said 0. I just used those vials right before I tested the tap water on my aquarium. So maybe there was some left over stuff?

I dont see how my tap can go from 0 to 5 ppm and the same with my tank.

I also added some gravel from my established goldfish tank (1/4 cup) into my 20 gallon that im cycling, about 3 days ago. Does this mean anything... or am I loosing it.
Also, would adding more tetra safestart affect this is any way? I added a small bottle about 2 weeks ago and nothing happened. Im getting desperate after 6 weeks!
What are you using to fill the test tubes? One time, I was cycling my tank, and I used the same syringe I used to fill the test tubes as I used to dose my ammonia. It gave me CRAZY high ammonia readings and I had to start my cycle over again.

Also, did you check the expiration date on the test kit?
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:40 AM   #5
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Adding the Tetra SafeStart will likely be the reason your tank is showing nitrAtes. Ignore nitrAtes and when nitrIte appears then goes you'll know you're cycled.

In the future don't waste your time with bottled bacteria.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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When is the last time you did a water change? Have you tested PH? It's possible the nutrients and buffers have been used up; if the PH has crashed that could stall things. What type of ammonia are you using? Also did you use dechlorinator when you set up the tank? What is the temp of the tank now? Have you changed filter media or anything in the tank recently?

I would do a full water change (as much as you can), turn filter back on and let the tank run, wait about an hour and then test everything again. If needed, redose ammonia just to 2 ppm (if it's higher than 2 after the water change then you overdosed to begin with which would account for the stall as well). Also do the following:
--test PH of the tank before the water change
--test again after the water change
--test your tap PH right out of the tap
--leave a glass of water out for 24 hours, stir it occasionally and then test PH again; this is your 'true' PH and what your tank's PH should be. It can differ sometime from the reading straight from the tap once the water gasses off
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
When is the last time you did a water change? Have you tested PH? It's possible the nutrients and buffers have been used up; if the PH has crashed that could stall things. What type of ammonia are you using? Also did you use dechlorinator when you set up the tank? What is the temp of the tank now? Have you changed filter media or anything in the tank recently?

I would do a full water change (as much as you can), turn filter back on and let the tank run, wait about an hour and then test everything again. If needed, redose ammonia just to 2 ppm (if it's higher than 2 after the water change then you overdosed to begin with which would account for the stall as well). Also do the following:
--test PH of the tank before the water change
--test again after the water change
--test your tap PH right out of the tap
--leave a glass of water out for 24 hours, stir it occasionally and then test PH again; this is your 'true' PH and what your tank's PH should be. It can differ sometime from the reading straight from the tap once the water gasses off
Heres the backdrop:
From 7/4 to 7/20 I did a fish in cycle.
They all died. I did water changes every other day. Levels were consitently:
.50-1ppm ammonia
0 nitrites
0 nitrates
Ph around 7.8-8


After my last fish died I did another water change. Added food and from around 7/20 to 7/30 I did a fishless cycle using food.
Levels pretty much stayed the same.

About 8/1 ive been using Dr. Tims aquatics pure ammonia. I put the ammonia to 4ppm and tested daily. Always was 4ppm and 0 nitrates and nitrites.

The last time I tested pH was 7/21 it was about 7.8 or 8.
However last week I changed the water 20% and tested it a day or two after and it was over the scale! The pH was 8.8+!

I hadnt tested the pH in a few weeks but someone told me the coral or rock thing I got from petsmart was leaching. I believe they were right. They advised me to remove it. I removed it about 5 days ago and my pH is about 8.0. Not sure if it was that high because of the coral or changing the water a day or two earlier.

I left my tap water out for 24 hours a few days ago and its also around 8.0.

I do dechlorinate my water with seachem prime. More than enough just because I thought maybe there was somehow chlorine stalling this.

My tank is at around 84-86 degrees.

I threw in some gravel in a nylon 2 days ago from an established tank.

I noticed my filter--aqueon quietflow 10-- was small for my 20 gallon and the filter is absolutely disguisting--but I cant touch it cause the bacteria--theres also only a blue screen for the beneficial bacteria.
So I bought the Fluval c3 which has a greater flow of water and I opted out of using the carbon filter and filted it with biomax.

I know I cant take out my old filter so I now have both running at the same time. Hoping with all the extra bio material the c3 has will help this thing cycle!

Its been 6 weeks and still no nitrites. I did use a bottle of tetra safestart two weeks ago. Buttttt nada.

P.s. I bought a bottle of safestart plus (for 500 gallons+) to try one last time. I think last time it didnt work because I used prime the day before and your supposed to wait a while. Since im going crazy would it hurt to use a bit of this to try. I dont think it hurts because its not a chemical.
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